Alan Meyers

September 25, 2006

Post #2071 – 20060925

Mr. Pinkwater, I have just enjoyed reading LOOKING FOR BOBOWICZ. I was puzzled for a minute when we met the candy store operator Sean Vergessen, since that name sounded so familiar. I finally realized his name sounded like the name of that other candy store operator in LIZARD MUSIC, Shane Ferguson. I am just curious: when you recycle characters like that, do they tend to be characters based on people you have known in “real life?” I’m not sure why I suspect that that would be so — but I do. Just wondering. You are on my list, not only of all-time favorite writers, but of all-time favorite people, and your books are one of the things I most like to think about. Sincerely, Alan Meyers

Daniel replies:

It's a famous joke. At a hotel or golf course, someplace like that, ther's a page, ""Telephone call for Shane Fergusen,"" and a man with a heavy Yiddish accent goes to take the call. When he returns, someone asks him, ""You are so obviously Jewish. How is it you have an un-Jewish name like Shane Fergusen?"" He explains that when he came to America, someone had told him he should anglicise his name, thus Gershon Greenblatt would become George Greenleaf, and so forth. But, he says, when the immigration official asked him what his name would be, he couldn't remember the new version, and said, ""Shoyn fergessen,"" (in Yiddish, ""I have already forgotten). Just another bonus embedded cultural artifact--there are hundreds, probably thousands more.